Saturday, May 21, 2016

Introducing Debbie Reed's Rugs

Recently Debbie Reed's rugs have been a gigantic hit on Facebook's Needlepoint Group. Everyone is in awe! With Debbie's permission, I am reproducing her photos of her rugs here, all based on her own designs charted on graph paper from inspiration found all over, and quoting what she said about each.  First is her large Navajo rug.

This one I designed and stitched. It's 68 by 96 inches. Always wanted a Navajo rug but didn't think I'd ever be able to afford one. Most of the yarn I found in large cones at Goodwill. Cost me next to nothing to make. I was going through some medical problems at the time and couldn't do much. So I call this my "pain rug". It's very therapeutic to stitch when you can't do much of anything else. This rug has about 2000 hours in it. It is just ordinary 10 to the inch needlepoint canvas and I spliced 2 pieces together to get the width.

I saw a Navajo rug in the background of a Ralph Lauren ad and graphed out and stitched my own version. This one is 36 by 40. There really isn't any finishing and some of the rugs aren't quite square but I got better as I went along with keeping them square. To finish the edges I just started with folding about an inch over and stitching through so the edges would be finished. Just stitching shows on the back, all of canvas is completely stitched.

I thought I would share the others I made. Turns out I actually made 5. This one I designed and is Navajo inspired. It's 38 by 50.

I'm not much of a needlepointer. I only know one stitch and I've only ever made 5 rugs. Here is one I designed and stitched in 1993. For anyone who thinks needlepoint is expensive I probably only have $50 in it as I scrounged yarn from Goodwill or wherever I could find it. It's 38 by 68 inches. A little Chinese influence to it with the bats meaning good luck.

When it comes to designing rugs, Debbie says it's just like piecing quilts--more math than anything. She graphs them out on graph paper.  She downplays the rugs by saying it's just one simple stitch, basketweave,  something she could do while watching TV without really having to concentrate too hard.  She says the backsides are fairly thick.  

"I found almost all the yarn at Goodwill and the main expense was in the canvas."

This is a rug I started but didn't get very far on. I will likely start over in 10ct. This is 18 count and I no longer have any of the yarns I started with. I saw a Chinese Taoist embroidered Priest's robe in a book and coveted it so graphed it out and started working on this rug.

Also wanted to show how I simply turn back the corner about an inch and stitch it in so there is no finishing involved in making the rug.

I asked Debbie how she stitched her rugs. Were they on a frame?

" I would basically just prop myself up at the end of the sofa and the canvas laying out on the rest of the sofa or halfway rolled up. Kind of used my knees as the frame. I didn't use a frame and used the basketweave stitch because it was supposed to be a good stitch for a rug and it warped the canvas less. By the time I had a done a couple of rugs I got better about not getting the canvas out of shape by not pulling the stitching too hard. I know the smaller ones should be blocked but the largest one is pretty square. Since the designs I did were mainly large areas of the same color and simple counting the stitches I could do it pretty mindlessly while watching tv. And to me it was more about enjoying doing it than getting the rugs finished. If the goal is only to finish a rug it's going to seem really daunting.

Thanks for sharing your amazing work, Debbie. Can't wait to see the Taoist Priest rug when it is finished! It is my favorite for sure.   Keep up the amazing work and don't put those rugs rolled back in a closet.  They deserve to be seen!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at
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© Copyright May 19, 2016 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.

Finishing Ideas

Melissa Shirley Mermaid on Tote Bag

If you have a pile of stitched canvases you need finishing ideas for, this article from Needlepoint For Fun is for you.   I've made many glasses cases from small canvases and little pencil holders or candle holders look good if your canvas can wrap around a glass.  My personal favorite is to whip stitch a canvas to a purse, though.  You can find wonderful tote bags everywhere.  I like to buy one on sale that matches a canvas and tuck it away for later when my design is stitched.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at
and at
© Copyright April 29, 2016 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.